Episode 382

“Kipp, it was an honest mistake,” Kyle began to explain seeing the way that Kipp’s eyes seem to darken even more in anger as he let out a small sigh seeing Charles falling asleep in his arms. “I’ve been trying to get him to say some things and I was really shooting for mama, but…”

“But somehow my son calls you dada,” Kipp let out an angered laugh before pushing back his dark hair and staring out at Kyle in pure anger. “You know, Charles is my son. No matter how much you are in his life, he is my son Kyle and not yours.”

“He knows that Kipp,” Kellen moved forward to place his hand on Kipp’s shoulder only to feel Kipp hit it away in anger and Kellen threw his hands up in the air defensively. “Listen, I know that pissed you off, but…,”

“Hey, the kid just was trying to get what he wanted,” Paul pointed out seeing the way that Kipp glared over at him and Paul moved in behind Kyle to hide. “You can’t help what happens with a little one.”

“No, I can’t help it, but I’m tired of this. I’m tired of it all,” Kipp blurted out seeing the way that everyone stared out at him before he laughed and threw his hands up in the air. “You all like Kyle more than me and I can’t get over that. Whether it’s Heather who fell for Kyle or the person who is supposed to love me. Kellen you constantly crush on Kyle and now even my own son loves Kyle more than me. I’m sick of it.”

“Wait, he’s gay?” Paul questioned feeling Kyle’s hand collide with his chest hard enough to blow the wind out of his lungs as he coughed trying to get rid of the pain that was riding in his chest. “Sorry, I just was curious.”

“Kipp, you know that’s not true,” Heather went to go touch Kipp’s shoulder as he spun on his heel moving in closer to her, cornering her into the corner of the room. “Kipp, honestly just cool off.”

“Oh, you expect me to listen to you of all people?” Kipp snapped rolling his eyes before pointing over toward the rest of the people in the room. “You are the worst possible mother Charles could have ever had. I don’t know what I ever saw in you because you are just a little who…”

“I’ve had enough from you,” Kellen pushed at Kipp’s shoulder seeing Kipp fall to the ground in a thud and Kellen nodded toward Heather moving forward to press a small kiss against her forehead. “Just go in the bedroom and we will finish this Heather Babes.”

“What is it about all of you?” Kipp got up to his feet seeing the way that Kyle stepped forward with an angered expression while he held Charles in his hands. “It’s obvious I’m not wanted or needed here, so I’m going to leave as soon as I can.”

“And abandon your son,” Kyle whispered carefully handing Charles over to Paul who held him in close to his chest as Kipp stopped in his tracks after grabbing the door handle. “You don’t want to be considered a bad father and yet you are ready to walk away. What is it with you? Are you jealous of me or something?”

“You’re damn right I am,” Kipp snapped moving forward seeing the way that Kyle’s jaw tightened in anger before nodding slowly and letting out a small sigh. “My son loves you more than me, what am I supposed to do about that.”

“I don’t think that’s the case Kipp, but if you ever touch or talk to Heather like that again, I’ll kill you,” Kyle warned seeing the way that Kipp gulped down before laughing and shaking his head slowly. “I saved your ass not long ago, I can’t just as well break it.”

“Break this,” Kipp swung his fist into the side of Kyle’s face hearing the impact hit Kyle’s cheek and he saw Kyle just turn his face to the side before looking back at him again. “I can’t stand you people.”

“Are you done yet?” Kyle questioned folding his hands in front of his chest opening his mouth to stretch his jaw before shaking his head slowly. “If you are acting like this in front of your son, I really don’t think you belong here at all.”

“Screw you all,” Kipp blurted out opening the door and holding his hands up in the air angrily. “I hope you all have a happy life together without me.”

“I’ll be right back,” Kellen patted Kyle on the shoulder walking out of the house leaving Kyle and Paul alone with Charles who was now awake.

“That was some crazy shit,” Paul pointed out seeing Kyle’s eyes widen before nodding slowly when he reached for Charles from Paul’s arms. “If it’s always like that, I think I might switch from video games to films just so I can see something that good on tape.”

“It doesn’t help any Paul,” Kyle pointed out looking down at Charles who stared up at him with his big, brown eyes and Kyle let out a small noise before laughing and moving in closer to him. “You know buddy, that didn’t help the situation too much.”

“Don’t blame it on him,” Paul patted Kyle on the shoulder before reaching out to feel Charles grab a hold of his hand and hold onto it tightly. “I think we should go see momma, she might be upset and could use a little help from her husband and her son.”


“Get back over here,” Kipp heard Kellen call out to him as Kipp pulled out the keys to his car, feeling Kellen grab a firm hold of his arm and turned him to face each other. “You listen to me right now Kipp, I have something to say to you and I have to make it very clear.”

“Why don’t you just blow off like everyone else,” Kipp snarled arching his eyebrow up in response seeing the way that Kellen’s blue eyes narrowed out at him in anger. “Why don’t you go back to your all time crush Kellen, I’m sure Kyle will love it.”

“What is wrong with you? Why are you now all of a sudden being so jealous?” Kellen snapped right back before grabbing a firm hold of Kipp’s wrist making sure that Kipp couldn’t leave easily. “Jealousy doesn’t fit you very well you know.”

“Well what can I say? I’m a man that wanted to raise my son responsibly, but obviously to Heather it’s just a joke,” Kipp blurted out seeing the way that Kellen rolled his eyes and Kipp let out a small laugh. “What do you expect? She did marry Kyle of course who obviously thinks it’s just another joke. Just look at his friends and that tells you what kind of person he is.”

“He’s a good man that absolutely loves Heather and your son. He’s done nothing wrong to get you this pissed off. I could understand you being mad at Heather and I, hell that one I get,” Kellen began seeing the way that Kipp stared out at him blankly and Kellen rolled his eyes at his further thoughts. “But you have no right to be mad at your son nor Kyle. They did nothing to you and to be honest with you Kipp, for someone who used to love Heather you treated her like a real asshole today. A huge one and if this is the Kipp I first met, I would have rather kicked your ass than end up with you.”

“Well get used to it, this is me,” Kipp hissed back seeing Kellen shake his head slowly before getting an even tighter grip on his wrist. “I don’t care what I said to Heather, she deserved it. Hell, she deserves worse, she isn’t miss innocent you know.”

“And neither am I, you are just a total jerk today I hope you know,” Kellen pointed out before rolling his eyes and letting out a small sigh at the thought of what was actually going on. “I’ve never seen this side of you and I never want to see it again. You are playing yourself off as the victim and I’m sick of it. You aren’t the victim, you are the one trying to attack innocent people Kipp Mahoney.”

“Don’t tell me what I am and am not doing Kellen, you are just as blind as the rest of them,” Kipp shoved Kellen away from him seeing Kellen stumble back a moment before catching his posture again. Kellen frowned back in response before smoothing out his shirt when Kipp went to walk back toward the door. “Fine, if you have such a problem, stay with Heather and Mr. Perfect. I’m getting my son.”

“You aren’t going near your son,” Kellen stepped in the way pushing Kipp back toward the car shaking his head in response knowing what kind of mood Kipp was in. “You are pissed right now and you are not putting that child in danger. Do you understand me?”

“Hey, that’s fine with me, take my kid. Take everything for all I care, but I don’t want you,” Kipp shook his head seeing Kellen going to move forward and Kipp quickly got inside the car before shrugging his shoulders. “Have fun with the perfect people in the world.”

“Grow up,” Kellen blurted out seeing the way Kipp rolled his eyes before quickly speeding off down the street leaving Kellen alone on Kyle’s front yard. “This is absolutely ridiculous, I don’t know what the hell is going on with him.”


“So, this is the party?” Stacy moved forward amongst the people they were with as she felt Caleb fingers tighten around hers. For some reason, she thought she would see people she noticed. Whether it was directors or something of that sort, but there was no one. The people weren’t even dressed up like the two of them. “Where did Thorsten go?”

“He’s off talking to the man that could possibly get you into movies kiddo,” Caleb informed her stepping behind her and wrapping his muscular arms around her waist. “Isn’t that what you want?”

“Well of course, but I was just wondering,” she felt Caleb’s breath skimming in over the side of her neck as he pressed gentle kisses against her skin. “This is just a whole lot different than I imagined it to be. That’s all.”

“Well, we have to start off at the bottom to get to the top if you know what I mean,” he pointed out with a small sigh seeing the way that she looked back at him before smiling and nodding. Reaching out, he grabbed two drinks from the bartender before motioning Stacy to follow him. “I want to show you something.”

“Okay,” she followed Caleb through the club and into a hallway with a door in the back as she followed him into the empty room that left the two of them alone with one another. “What is this?”

“A place where we could get some space,” he explained setting the drinks down on the table before shrugging his shoulders and moving over toward the bed in the corner of the room letting out a long sigh. “Sometimes I get tired of being around all those people, I feel like someone who is singled out and different from the rest. You know what I mean?”

“Boy do I,” she nodded moving over toward the bed and sitting on the edge of it, taking a look around the empty room that had a few plants and photos around the room. “Like you are the only person that seems to be in a different mind set, someone who just doesn’t fit in.”

“Exactly,” Caleb smirked moving in behind Stacy reaching up with his hands to caress her shoulders softly feeling her lean back into him a bit. “I guess we are more alike than I thought.”

“Caleb,” she whispered his name feeling his lips taper off in over her shoulder and felt his hand trying to urge down the strap of her shirt before she flew up from the bed, seeing his green eyes staring up at her. “I’m just the type of person that needs to take things slow. You understand, right?”

“How much slower do you want to go Stace?” he stood up from the bed seeing her sit back down as he moved over toward his drink, looking over his shoulder making sure she didn’t see what he was doing when he pulled something out of his pocket. “I’m the type of guy that’s savors a relationship, but what’s a relationship without a little sensual feelings?”

“I know, I just hope you can understand,” she began seeing the way he shrugged his shoulders before starting to slowly unbutton his own shirt sliding it off his shoulders . “What are you doing?”

“Hey, it’s hot,” he answered throwing his shirt into the chair on the corner of the room as he saw her eyeing over his muscular abdomen. “You can touch it if you want.”

“Excuse me?” she chuckled seeing him smirk before shrugging his shoulders and offering up a wide smile, his dimples showing. The very thing that made her fall for him at the beginning as she saw him come back with the two drinks in his hands. “I think I can hold off on that.”

“That’s your choice,” he smirked handing her over the drink he had for her seeing her take a glance at it before going to drink it slowly and he motioned her to drink it a bit faster. “You don’t have to savor it you know.”

“I was just,” Stacy went to say more realizing that she didn’t want to make him think she didn’t want him around and she saw him move over toward his shirt that he threw in the corner. “You’re right.”

“I know,” Caleb stated with a wide smile seeing Stacy go to finish up the drink and he moved quickly under the shirt setting up the camera that he was given by Thorsten making sure it was out of sight from her. “I’m always right honey.”

“Yeah,” Stacy finished off her drink seeing him stand up from kneeling and he moved over toward his drink, drinking it down quickly before moving over on the bed next to her. “I bet you are.”


“I guess you didn’t plan on babysitting me today, did you?” Angela questioned sinking onto the sofa in Brant’s entertainment room eyeing her surroundings with great interest. “I mean I’m sure you had better things to do today than just sit home with me.”

“Not really,” he shrugged his shoulders pouring himself a drink in the hopes of getting his nerves to ease up a bit on him. He glanced over at her and offered up a smile, “I always welcome the notion of spending time with you when you’re around.”

“Thanks, I think,” she paused not quite sure how to respond to his warmth. She eyed him closely watching him bent down from behind the bar to pull something out of the mini-fridge he’d had tucked behind the corner of the bar. A few seconds he returned with a bottle of cranberry juice in hand. She watched him pour it into a glass before reaching down again to pull out a lime from behind the bar. He sliced it into a few pieces before squeezing it in over the top of the glass. Once he’d finished he garnished the side of the glass with a thin sliver of lime before joining her over at the sofa, “For you.”

“Thank you,” she replied accepting the glass from him before eyeing him curiously, “how did you know that…”

“That it was one of your favorites?” he repeated with a warm smile causing her stomach to do small, nervous flip flops. She watched him push up the sleeves of his shirt before his eyes met hers again, “Were you starting to think I was psychic?”

“I was beginning to believe that you knew magic ways to get under my skin,” she mouthed in response feeling the heat that had carried over her rush into her cheeks causing her to blush. She turned away almost immediately hoping like hell he hadn’t seen how uncomfortable she was being alone with him especially when she should be spending her time with Kevin.

“I just have a talent for reading people,” he explained with a thoughtful expression attempting to keep her from being on edge now that they were alone with one another. “It’s a gift. What can I say?”

“I’m sure Ria appreciates it as it’s nice to have a man like you around who know what a woman is feeling,” Angela decided forcing herself to face him once again. She saw something flicker behind his dark eyes before she smiled over at him, “You both look like you’re very happy together.”

“Looks can be deceiving,” he lifted his glass to his lips taking a long sip before eyeing her intently. “Ria and I aren’t what we seem.”

“How so?” she sat up straighter on the couch, pushing her legs beneath her to see something shadow over his handsome features.

“Let’s just say that while Ria’s a special woman, she’s not the one that I’ve spent my life dreaming about,” he divulged softening his tone as an air of sentimentality swept over him. “I know that sounds cruel, but the truth to the matter is that I had the perfect girl--the woman of my dreams, but fate tore her away from me.”

“Why do you say that?” she questioned lazily taking a sip of her drink before watching Brant closely.

“Because the truth to the matter is that I met the woman of my dreams when I least expected it. She caught me completely off guard and before I knew it I was head over heels in love with her,” he divulged leaning in closer to her, his dark eyes fixed on hers, “She was beautiful and witty and an amazing person. There was so much that we didn’t know about one another, yet I anticipated spending each day learning everything about her--everything that made her smile, made her laugh and touched her heart.”

“So what happened to her?” she questioned curiously leaning forward to watch him closely.

“I guess you could say that she forgot about us,” Brant divulged searching her dark eyes in the hopes that maybe just maybe something would ring familiar about his tale. “We had a fight about something that was nothing more than a misunderstanding. You see someone important to her lied to her about me--lead her to believe that I was something I’m not and it terrified her. She ran away from what we had and it looked like it was over for us.”

“Obviously it must’ve been since you’re telling me this,” she replied half wishing she hadn’t said it when she saw a pained expression sweep over him. Instinctively she reached out to touch his arm gently offering up her support wordlessly. She felt his dark gaze press into hers before she spoke up again, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he mouthed with a sad, somber expression, “we were going to be together again. She told me she loved me and that she wanted to share her life with me. It was the greatest thing I had ever heard--it was all that I had wanted and knowing that gave me more pleasure than anything. Just to hear her heart at long last…”

“I don’t understand,” Angela blinked back at him confusion settling in over her. “If she said all of those things, then how did you get to where you are now?”

“I’m still trying to figure that one out,” he answered softly glancing down to where her hand was pressed on his shoulder. His gaze swept up over her arm to her concerned eyes again, “but I still have faith that God will make things right again for us. I know that I’ve never really been a man to live my life thinking about the consequences of my actions, but I know in part if I’d only stopped being the man I was years ago, then I might’ve found the happiness I’d had in her sooner. Hell, I might’ve never had to experience what it’s like to lose her over and over again.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that Brant,” she frowned hating to see him upset. For some reason she couldn’t quite understand her heart ached for him and she wanted to reach out to him and hold him. It was such an irrational thought, yet with one look he’d cut her down to the core, made her think about how empty she’d felt at other points in her life. “Maybe it will work out in the end. I mean stranger things have happened, right?”

“That’s what they say,” he forced a smile, despite the fact that his thoughts were still leading in a dark direction.

“Anything is possible,” she added hopefully squeezing his arm lightly, “I mean look at Kevin and I. We had this thing on and off for a while. I was so afraid that my father would kill him when he found out that we were together. My father has this man that worked for him that scares the hell out of me--so much so that I told Kevin that we were over. I broke his heart to save his life, but then this happened.”

Brant watched her place her hand over her swelled abdomen and he felt another pain rush over him at the idea of her believing their children was Kevin’s child. She tipped her head up to eye him again with solemn eyes.

“This baby is the reason why Kevin and I are able to push our fears aside and be together again. He never lost faith in us even when I pushed him far away from me. He always believed that we would be able to share our lives with one another--that we would have our dreams together and here we are still doing that,” she offered up a small smile completely unaware of the fact that her words only served as a reminder of what Brant had lost. “Besides, you never know. Maybe you’ll realize the woman you lost wasn’t really what you believed she was in the first place. Maybe you’ll see that Ria is really the one and you’ll have a whole new set of dreams with her--dreams that make the ones you had with the other woman who left your life look pale in comparison.”

“There is no comparison Angela,” he whispered closing his eyes to refrain from revealing his heart to her. Clearing his throat he stood up moving away from the couch before his instincts took over and he confessed the truth about the woman in his heart. Clearing his throat again he forced himself to face her again, “You know I would really just like to stop talking about this whole pity party I have going. That’s not going to make the time pass any faster for us.”

“I was just trying to help,” she replied sensing his uneasiness with the topic at hand.

“Then help me drown my troubles in a game of Frogger,” he wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “What do you say?”

“I think I can handle that,” she nodded in response rising up off of the couch and following Brant to the game room area in the hopes of helping him forget about his worries for a while now that it was clear they’d opened up a deep wound inside of his heart at the mention of his lost love.


Avery glanced out the window thinking about the night ahead of her. While Russ had taken great lengths to make tonight’s dinner a great one, she couldn’t help but find herself met with the same nagging feeling that had carried over her since he’d told her about Ken and Wendy coming over. Sure, she’d pretended that she would be fine with the situation--that somehow she would be okay to make it through a dinner with Ken seated in her dining room in the privacy of her home pretending that he was the same man he was before Russ had vanished. Avery knew better and so did Ken. After all that had happened being in her house was the last place Ken should’ve been.

“But how can we break that news to your daddy,” Avery mouthed to Erin, seeing the way her daughter was happily drinking up her bottle appearing to not have a care in the world. Her tiny hands wrapped around the bottle tightly as if it was the most important thing in the world to her. Then again at that moment it was probably the most important thing to Erin. It made her feel comfortable and loved and Avery wished for a moment that she could have that same carefree feeling that her daughter had.

“I don’t want to upset him, but there’s still so much he hasn’t seen in this place--so much that I wish he never had to see, yet…” her words came to an ending when she heard the sound of the doorbell ringing. Stiffening in her seat, Avery focused on Erin again, “I promise I’ll try to hold it together tonight for you and your daddy, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Erin’s big eyes blinked up at her before she released the bottle. She pushed it over to Avery as if she was trying to give Avery the same source of comfort that Erin had been clinging onto moments earlier.

“I love you too baby girl,” Avery bent down to kiss Erin’s forehead gently only to hear the sound of Russ approaching down the hallway. She looked up to see him standing in the doorway with a blue apron tied around his muscled form with the words ‘Kiss the Cook’ on the front of it. Avery couldn’t help but laugh seeing him standing there looking ridiculously sexy in front of her.

“Company is here,” Russ explained brightly winking over at her before pointing to his apron. “You like?”

“I think you’re nuts,” she admitted with a playful smirk, “but for what it’s worth I think I would love to kiss the cook.”

“That’s kind of what I was hoping for when I put this old thing on,” Russ explained moving in to join her and Erin. He bent down to kiss Avery gently before pressing a tiny kiss on Erin’s forehead. “I just wanted to get kisses from both of my girls.”

“And it would seem that you got what you wanted,” Avery smiled back at him, “I take it our company is here.”

“I have Ken out back looking over the chicken and steaks I have on the barbeque and Wendy is with him. She offered to help with anything that we had left to do for dinner, but I told her that we had it covered,” Russ explained quickly hearing the sound of the timer going off in the kitchen, “thought it sounds like my potatoes are just about ready.”

“I thought you were just going to toss them on the grill,” Avery frowned seeing him making a move towards the door again.

“I was, but then I got this recipe that my mom gave me and figured I would give it a try especially since you were talking about having Kyle over for dinner,” Russ explained with a small wink, “If it is horrible, then we’ve tested it on Ken and he’ll eat anything. Kyle on the other hand…”

“Will still eat anything,” Avery finished with a small laugh shaking her head at him, “Erin and I will be out there shortly.”

“Take your time. I told Ken and Wendy you were feeding her,” Russ nodded back at her, “They’ll just be out back with me when I’m done in the kitchen.”

“Alright,” Avery nodded watching Russell’s retreat before turning to Erin again, “Tell me something, how in the world am I going to pretend that I can actually tolerate that man when you and I both know what a creep he is?”

Erin’s eyes widened before she let out a loud burp that caused Avery to shake her head and laugh.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel right now Erin,” Avery sighed heavily forcing herself to get Erin ready to greet their company as she prayed that the night would go as smoothly and swiftly as possible now that they had Ken and Wendy over. It wasn’t something that she was looking forward to at all, but she vowed to try to be polite for Russ if for no other reason.


“So, what is this all about?” Kevin moved forward from the backseat resting his arms against the seats in the front that Ria and Don were sitting in. “What’s going on, I want to know what the story is.”

“My sister was worried about her friend Stacy, she met this guy who is a lot older than her,” Don looked back at Kevin in the rearview mirror seeing Kevin reach his hand out to Ria’s to hold onto it tightly as he thought about what his little sister had said. “I guess from what she said, the guy never seemed to be on the up and up and gave Stacy some pretty interesting promises.”

“Interesting promises?” Ria repeated seeing Don’s eyebrow arch up and he nodded slowly before trying to pull out his cell phone at the same time. Squeezing onto Kevin’s fingers she saw Don fighting to get the phone open while they stopped at a red light. “Why do I get a bad feeling about that?”

“Because you should,” Kevin’s jaw tightened in worry as he moved more forward in his seat seeing Don look back at him for a moment as he rested his chin on the seat. “What kind of promises did this guy give her?”

“I guess he told her he could make her a star and was taking her to a casting party,” Don informed them seeing the way that Ria and Kevin both made the same expression and he sighed deeply, nodding once the light turned green. “That’s exactly what I was thinking when Linds told me that. Something is up with this guy.”

“Here, let me do that,” Kevin reached for Don’s cell phone seeing Don let out a small sigh before nodding slowly and opening the contacts. “Who is it that I’m calling?”

“Stacy’s mom Jewel,” Don informed Kevin seeing him nod slowly and look through the contact numbers before pulling the cell phone up to his ear. “If she doesn’t answer the first time, just keep dialing.”

Seeing Kevin nod and lean back into the back seat waiting for some type of answer Don turned to Ria who was looking at the address he wrote down. He could tell by the look on Ria’s face that something was up and he just had to know.

“Do you know something I don’t?” Don questioned seeing Ria’s jaw clenched as if she was trying to remember something and Don felt a panic overtake him. “Ria, let me in on some information before I have a heart attack.”

“I’m just thinking about the location Don, I think I had a patient from this area,” she informed him seeing Don’s worried blue eyes grow with even more worry and she tried to recall what the patient had said. “From what they told me, this is no place for a casting party to be. Let alone to have a fifteen year old girl be alone with an older man.”

“That’s what I thought,” Don bit down on his bottom lip cussing to himself that this girl could get into a situation like this, she was always like another little sister to him and he didn’t want her hurt. “I hope she’s okay.”

“She’ll be okay, but I can’t promise you the guy who did this to her will be once we get there,” Kevin pressed his hand in over Don’s shoulder feeling how tense Don was underneath his touch and Kevin let out a long sigh. “I can’t seem to get a hold of her mother, do you have a number for her father or what?”

“I don’t have her father’s number, damn it,” Don brought his fist into the steering wheel before rubbing at his aching head hoping to hell that nothing happened to Stacy. “Try for her mother again Kevin, I need to get a hold of her. Please.”

Instead of saying anything further Kevin nodded slowly and moved back into the back to get to calling the mother again as Don glanced over at the time in the car before letting out a long sigh.

“Damn it, this isn’t right,” Don felt Ria place her hand over his shoulder to try and get him to calm down as his jaw tightened in anger at the thought of a parent not owning up to their responsibilities. “No child that age should be out there like this. She is way too young to be at any kind of party.”

“I agree,” Kevin answered still having the receiver to his ear as he spoke up, thinking about all the details Don had given him on Stacy and he let out a long sigh. Stacy would be a year younger than his daughter right now and that was no place he would have wanted his daughter to be hanging out at. “No little one should be caught in this situation, I know if it was my daughter I would kill the person moving in on her.”

“Yeah, well she isn’t my daughter and I think that might be what happens,” Don hissed gripping the wheel tighter as he turned off on the exit that Lindsay had told him to go off of and taking a look around he already knew he was going to hate this. “This guy doesn’t have a chance.”

“Damn it,” Kevin snapped slamming the phone shut after trying over a dozen times to get a hold of Jewel and he rolled his eyes at the thought. “She never was a very reliable person, this is a horrible case of a parent not being there for their child.”

“We’ll be there for her,” Ria glanced at Don seeing him nod slowly and she glanced back at Kevin who was trying to call Jewel one last time as she saw his jaw tighten in anger to the extreme. “Just a few more minutes and we’ll be there. Everything is going to be okay.”


“Ha, I knew I would beat you this time!” Angela cheered waving her hands around in the air and stepping away from the arcade machine. She reached for her glass taking a sip of her juice before setting it down and doing a little dance. She waved her hands around in the air while spinning around and singing to herself.

“Gee, and you’re not happy about crushing my reputation at this one, are you?” Brant shook his head at her, laughing lightly as he sank back over the back of the couch just watching in amusement to see how delighted with herself she was.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” she grinned widely stopping in her victory dance long enough to look over at him. “I saw that your initials were the ones listed at the top scorer earlier, but now if you look, well what do you see? I believe those are mine.”

“So they are,” he laughed lightly shaking his head at her, “but even though you beat me this time that doesn’t mean you’re the ultimate winner.”

“Of course it does because I fully plan on beating you again and again each and every time you try to prove you're better than me,” she mouthed with a wicked laugh shaking her head at him.

“Cocky aren’t you?” Brant arched a curious brow eyeing her intently as she moved in closer to him.

“I just know I’m that good. You on the other hand,” she began her brown eyes reaching out to his again. She pushed her palm flat out into the center of his chest and grinned, “are all washed up.”

Before Brant could say a word she stepped forward, nudging him over the back of the couch with one solid push. He fell back onto the cushions, his legs up on the back of the couch and Angela squealed with delight. Once he’d hit the cushions, she leaned in over the back of the couch eyeing him with that same mischievous grin she’d had before.

“How’s it going down there?” she teased with a haughty laugh seeing him attempting to pull himself back up again before flopping back with a sigh.

“Why don’t you find out for yourself,” he suggested grabbing her hand and pulling on it with a decided tug. With the one movement he sent her in over him onto the cushions pulling her into an upside down position. He was careful to keep her from falling onto her stomach or in any other way to upset her, but sure to get her right where he wanted her beside him.

“You think you’re cute, don’t you?” she shook her head at him once she’d settled in beside him on the couch, her legs now hanging over the top half of it.

“Nah, I know I am,” Brant laughed lightly leaning in closer to her, “and even if you hate to admit it, you know I so could’ve smoked you tonight if you wouldn’t have been such a distraction.”

“I was far from being a distraction,” she wrinkled her nose at him.

“You’re always a distraction when you’re around me,” he confessed softening his tone a bit while his dark eyes sought out hers. His gaze dropped down to her full, lush lips remembering what it had been like to spend hours just kissing them and experiencing the warmth that she had to offer him.

“You’re so full of it,” she rolled her eyes reaching for one of the toss pillows on the couch and shoving it into the center of his face. She watched him sink back into the couch cushion and she relented a bit, “You’ll say just about anything to try to coax me into letting you win, admit it.”

“When I want to win, I’ll win,” Brant informed her with a bright smile reaching out to grab her in his arms before rocking forward and sending the couch over in one, quick movement. Now with the couch turned sideways, they both sat on the back of the couch while the cushions were behind them.

“What was that for?” she blinked back at him surprised by the sudden movement he’d made. She glanced out across the floor before shaking her head at him, “How in the world did you pull that off?”

“I’m stronger than I look,” he admitted with a playful laugh reaching out to her once again, “which means that you’re in big trouble.”

“Take your best shot Brant,” Angela taunted feeling him moving in closer to her. She felt his finger tease over her side causing her to squirm beside him. However, she wasn’t about to let him get the best of her. She returned the tickle assault feeling his body writhing against her touch.

“You’re so going to get it,” Brant mouthed attempting to move his hand in against that spot on her thigh that caused her to buckle over with laughter time and time again, but before he could reach out his target, he felt her palm slide up beneath his sweater and he stilled himself.

“I don’t think so,” she laughed lightly, her dark eyes wild with amusement until she was suddenly aware of the warm lines of his chest beneath her touch. Her breath quickened, eyes widening before her gaze dropped instinctively to his lips. She inched in closer to him, her heart doing flip flops as she felt his breath sweeping in over her.

“So what are you going to do with me now that you’ve seemingly got one over me?” Brant questioned seeing her eyelids half close in anticipation, her lips parting in delicious invitation as her other hand pressed up and over his shoulder.

“I’m going to show you there’s a lesson to learn in being the loser,” she whispered heatedly, her mouth a fraction of an inch away from his as Brant dipped in closer to her ready to claim her in a fiery kiss, but just as soon as the moment seemed to call upon them, she made her retreat.

“Oh boy,” Angela let out a small gasp bringing her hand up and over her abdomen.

“What?” Brant questioned in a panic. “What’s wrong?”

“I think we’ve stirred up something in here,” Angela explained keeping her fingers over the center of her abdomen, “I feel movement.”

“What kind of movement?” he questioned worriedly reaching out to her, “Is something wrong? Do you feel like I need to take you back to the hospital or…?”

“I think the baby is kicking,” she couldn’t help but laugh seeing how worried he was. “I can feel movement in here. Not a bad kind of movement, but just movement…”

“Really?” he questioned directing his attention to her abdomen. Instinctively he reached forward wanting to feel the signs of his children beneath his fingertips, but he thought twice remembering the situation they were in. Tipping his head up ever so slightly, his dark eyes met hers, “May I?”

She nodded saying nothing and reaching for his hand. She placed it beneath hers before guiding him to seek out the movement that she’d felt seconds earlier. She sucked in a small breath before speaking up in a whisper, “You’ll feel it in a second. It just kind of pops up out of nowhere.”

“And goes away just as fast too,” Brant laughed lightly anticipating the movement from his children. He fell to silence closing his eyes and just focusing on the touch--on the way it felt to be holding her in such an intimate fashion all over again.

“I didn’t make this up,” Angela started to protest, a frown curling over her lips. “The baby was just moving and…”

“Maybe I should try to spark a reaction in them,” Brant suggested picking his head up ever so slightly. He reached for the hem of her shirt before pausing. “Maybe if I made more of a direct contact…”

“You mean,” her eyes widened at the suggestion watching him toy with the notion of raising her shirt a bit.

“If you don’t mind,” he nodded seeing her bite down on her lower lip nervously.

“No, go ahead,” she managed to get out in a low breath, feeling him slide the material of her shirt up ever so slightly over her abdomen, “though I have to warn you my figure isn’t what it used to be.”

“Maybe not, but you’re sexier than ever just like this,” Brant admitted thoughtlessly, his palm cupping over the swell of her abdomen. His fingers fanned out over her smooth skin and she leaned back into the cushions trying to ignore the sparks of electricity that caused her insides to jump just by the way his touch smoothed out over her. She inhaled slowly trying not to let the nearness of him and the sexy ruggedness of his cologne get her head all caught up in things she was certain she shouldn’t be thinking or feeling right about now.

“I know my hands are a little cold and I apologize,” Brant offered up catching the small jump she’d made when he’d first touched her. He withdrew his hand, raising it to his lips. He blew a warm breath out over his finger tips causing her to ripple in the after effects of the sensuality behind the movement. Her brown eyes widened, heart started to race wildly and as he lowered his palm to her abdomen again, she felt as if she was going to lose any and all control of what it was she was feeling at their first contact again.

“Better?” he questioned sliding his hand over her with great ease seeking out the very thing that had captured her attention from the start.

Angela nodded unable to find the words to explain what it was that she was feeling with Brant’s hand over her. She closed her eyes thinking about how soft and tender his caresses were and how she would’ve surely loved to have him hold her in other more intimate places showing her just how gentle and loving he could truly be to her body. She forced herself to reopen her eyes again in the fear that she would somehow give herself away to his own questioning caress. Without a word she eased her fingers in over his, guiding his hand over her abdomen.

“Maybe over here,” she suggested shifting his palm over to the side of her abdomen, “I thought I felt something here earlier.”

“Then we may as well check it out,” he blurted out allowing her to lead him wherever she wanted him to go. They sat together in silence, fingers intertwined with one another as they waited for magic to spark between them. Of course the real magic went well beyond the movement of their children, but rather to the sudden intensity that hung through the air between them.

“I think I feel something here,” she confessed sitting up straighter, her words escaping from her lips in a soft pant broken up by the raspy timbre of her tone.

“I’m definitely feeling something here,” he nodded in agreement sliding his other hand up over her shoulder. His fingers lazily tapered off out onto the back of her neck, teasing at the tapered edge of her darkened tresses. She tipped her head to the side, watching him with great interest as she squeezed his hand in hers, keeping their palms pressed together on her abdomen.

“Brant I…” she began feeling her throat grow dry with anticipation, her body tight with apprehension and that unwelcome desire that seemed to carry over her each and every time they were alone with one another.

“Yes?” he arched a speculative brow, his dark, hot gaze traveling to her lips making her wish for him to follow up with that glance in placing skilled kisses over each and every inch of her body. Just the thought alone had her convinced that she was losing her mind. Temptation had never felt this strong before, yet with the warmth of Brant beside her, his touch over her tender skin, she couldn’t help but want to see where this sudden feeling took her.

“I just think that…” she began arching up into his touch, her lips greedily inching in closer to his when she felt a distinct thump from beneath where their hands were over her abdomen.

“I feel it,” Brant exclaimed excitement carrying over him. He pulled away from the position they were in, his hand wrapping up her abdomen while delight washed over him. “There it is again. And again!”

“I told you I wasn’t making it up,” Angela couldn’t help but laugh seeing the way he lit up at what was happening inside of her. “The little one seems like she’s ready to join a kickboxing ring or something.”

“Kickboxing,” Brant chuckled gently massaging her abdomen before shaking his head, “nah, I think it’s dancing.”

“I don’t know. Kevin was a boxer for a long time, so it wouldn’t surprise me if his daughter has the same fighting spirit,” Angela mouthed her thoughts suddenly turning to the man she was engaged to--to the man she’d been convinced that she would share the rest of her life with. At the thought, guilt poured over her for even imagining what it would be like to be with someone else--someone like Brant.

“No, she’s a dancer,” Brant corrected, his smile transforming into a tight frown, “a ballerina who wants to share her gift with the rest of the world. She’s beautiful and poised like her mother, with her same beautiful eyes and smile.”

“Brant…” Angela started seeing his eyes cloud over with something she hadn’t expected from him. His palm wrapped around her abdomen, making tiny, feathery light movements before he inched in closer to her listening for any further movement as if he somehow could see and hear exactly what was happening inside of her.

“She knows where she is right now and she wants to spend her life happy and healthy with her mother and father sharing each and every day with her brother along the way,” Brant continued to explain, his thoughts running wild with the dreams that he’d had of a future with his family. “They will be wild and free just like their mother and they will never have to know the kind of pain that you and I have faced. They can be loved--loved and cherished like every child in this world should have.”

“I wouldn’t give my daughter anything less Brant,” Angela promised sensing something had shifted in his tone.

“You keep saying your daughter, but that’s only the half of it Angela,” Brant finally bit down on his resolve knowing that he couldn’t hold back any longer, “You’re not having Kevin’s daughter. You’re having so much more than that.”

“More?” she tipped her head to the side a blank expression on her face. “What do you mean?”

“You’re not feeling one kick boxer but two,” he informed her searching her eyes for any hope that her memory would be returning to her, “Angela you’re having twins, not one baby.”

“Twins,” she blinked back at him confusion settling in over her, “but I thought that Kevin and I were having a little girl that we…”

“You’re having a little girl and a little boy,” he informed her honestly hoping that the small dose of reality would do something to jog her memory a bit. He reached out to her touching the side of her face gently, “You’re having two children that were born out of something so right that happened out of the blue--two children that in their own way have turned everyone’s life around starting with mine.”


“She’s beautiful Russ,” Wendy smiled watching the way Erin seemed to melt into Russ as the two of them sat at the picnic table with one another across from Wendy. She watched Erin reach out to her father attempting to pull at his nose before letting out a boisterous laugh.

“Thank you,” Russ replied with a proud smile, reaching out to bring his fingers over his daughter’s tiny strands of dark hair, “though I can’t take all the credit considering Avery did most of the work. I was just there at the beginning and the end so to speak.”

“Oh now come on. Give yourself a little credit,” Wendy shook her head at him, “You’re a great father Russ. You and Avery really look like you have everything that you’ve always hoped for here with Erin and the new house.”

“It’s a start,” Russ offered up in confession playing with Erin as she tried to munch on his finger, “though I’m hoping that we’ll be able to give Erin a few brothers and sisters to run around and make mischief with her.”

“Ah that’s right. You always did want to make your own baseball team if I remember correctly,” Wendy laughed lightly remembering Russell’s enthusiastic talks of a family in their younger years. “Have you finally warmed Avery up to the idea?”

“She’s still getting over the whole being pregnant situation, but I’m sure I can sweet talk her into trying it out again,” Russ added with an enthusiasm in his voice, “I mean look how incredible Erin is. Who wouldn’t want to give something like what we did with her another try?”

“Is that the side of the argument you’re using,” Wendy couldn’t help but tease him further.

“How does it sound? Think it will work if Erin gets into it too?” Russ replied with a warm grin motioning to his daughter, “Come on Erin. Let’s show Wendy what we were working on for your mommy. Let’s show her how we do the puppy eyes for her.”

Erin blinked up at him before giggling and clapping her hands together with obvious delight. She reached for his nose again before letting out a loud squeal.

“Okay, so we’re still ironing out the details of this one, but sooner or later we’ll get it down pat,” Russ couldn’t help but chuckle at his daughter’s enthusiasm, “So what about you? Do you think maybe you and Ken will settle down and have a few little friends for Erin to play with?”

“You have no idea how much I would love that,” Wendy sighed, a sadness creeping in over her, “but I just don’t think that’s possible--at least for me.”

“Why do you say that?” Russ asked seeing something flash over her, “I’m pushing too hard and asking all the wrong nosy questions, aren’t I?”

“No, it’s okay,” Wendy waved her hand dismissively, “I mean it’s not like it’s a big secret around town. The fact to the matter is no matter how much I would like to be a mother Russ it just isn’t in the cards for me. You see when I left town before I was diagnosed with an illness--a terminal illness and while I was told that I wouldn’t be around even this long, the fact to the matter is that nothing is going to change what’s happening to me.”

“Oh Wendy, I’m so sorry,” Russ started apologetically thinking about what she and Ken must be going through.

“So am I, but I refuse to live out the rest of my life with regret. When Brant came to me and told me that Ken had gone through a horrible loss, the last thing I wanted to do was return home and give him something else to face--something else that would hurt him, but I couldn’t let him go under,” she admitted with a pained expression, “I did what I felt was right and now Ken and I are making the most of every day we have together. We’ve already talked about going to Paris and spending our time just enjoying this time we have together.”

“I think that’s a wise decision,” Russ nodded not knowing quite what to say to her, “How is Ken dealing with all of this?”

“He’s being strong for me, but I’m so afraid what will happen when I can’t keep fighting this any longer. I’m terrified to think what will be when it’s the end. He already endured so much heartbreak already in losing someone special to him that I can’t bear the idea of putting him through that all over again,” Wendy found herself choked up on emotion, “which I guess is why I’m glad that he’s finding a way to connect with old friends. Just knowing that he has other people makes this difficult situation easier on all of us. I know Ken wants a family and the kind of happiness that you and Avery have and I hope one day he will find that with someone who isn’t going to leave him.”

“Wendy, there are always advances in medicine each day. You say you’ve survived thus far, so who is to say that the doctors are right? Maybe there is something more out there,” Russ added hopefully hating to think about what his friends were going through.

“At this point what we need is a miracle and given that we’ve used up so many already, I’m not about to hold my breath for another one,” Wendy revealed trying to be realistic about the situation, “but for what it’s worth I am learning to make each moment count because you can’t ever go back and reclaim the past.”

“No you can’t,” he nodded in agreement.

“You can only move forward and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Wendy informed him as Russ looked to Erin again and said a silent prayer for the second chances he’d been given in his life. He just prayed that fate would play a hand in giving Wendy another chance at the kind of happiness he’d been blessed with as well. There had to be room for another miracle out there, wasn’t there?


Avery stepped over to the kitchen sink after discarding her glass on the counter top. She’d made the excuse that she needed to refill her glass, but the truth to the matter is that she couldn’t sit at the table and be fake with Ken a second longer. All over dinner the way his eyes kept falling over to her made her nervous and she feared she wasn’t going to be able to hide the reaction that sparked up inside of her when she saw him. Now as she leaned in over the sink closing her eyes she tried to will herself the strength to just pretend for the night that things hadn’t turned out like they had that night at the mansion. Even now she could feel the way it was to have him over her, pretending to be Brant as he slipped inside of her and…

“Avery,” Ken spoke up, the sound of his voice causing her to jump. She felt his hand on her shoulder and immediately she spun around with her fists clenched at her sides.

“Don’t you touch me!” she snapped at him, her dark eyes narrowing with obvious anger, “Don’t you ever touch me again!”

“Look I’m sorry,” he raised his hands in the air defensively taking a step back with the movement, “it’s just when I saw you come inside here, I kind of felt like maybe I should take the opportunity to have a few words with you. You know that maybe we should talk about things…”

“Things,” she repeated with clear venom in her tone, “what kind of things Ken?”

“The kind of things that are keeping us from being friends again,” Ken explained with a heavy sigh noting the way she glared at him, “We never really had a full chance to clear the air about that. I know at the hospital you said that you understood how what Susan did to me had turned me into what I was when…”

“When you hopped into my bed and took advantage of me when you knew full well that I was hurting?” she spoke up in an accusatory tone, “How you had sex with me when it was obvious to the rest of the world that I wasn’t ready for something like that?”

“Avery, I’m sorry and if I could take it back, I would but…” Ken started apologetically seeing her fists curl tighter than before.

“But you can’t. You can’t ever take something like that back Ken,” she snarled up at him, her brown eyes full of animosity and disappointment, “We were friends before, but you changed all of that when you did what you did to me.”

“I told you that I was sorry. It wasn’t something I planned on--something that I knew what I was doing. Susan had drugged me and…” he tried to remind her thinking about how he’d almost lost his life due to what Susan had pulled on them.

“You want me to believe that Ken, but I know you. I know that you’ve always wanted to one up me somehow. Sure, you haven’t said it in so many words, but you’ve always hated that I was always in first place,” she stood up taller, her words coming out in a pinched hiss, “We were always in competition when we were in school and it always burned you to no end that you couldn’t be number one.”

“Avery what happened wasn’t about you,” he informed her bluntly, his frustrations mounting.

“The hell it wasn’t,” she slammed her fist down onto the countertop sending her glass flying in the process, “It was my body that you violated that night Ken--my life that you decided to screw with.”

“I was upset and confused and…” he stammered a bit taking another step back.

“No, it’s not enough. Ken it won’t ever be enough,” she shook her head firmly having had enough with pleasantries with him, “You did what you did because you wanted to. You wanted to show me that you could stick it to me and you did Ken.”

“I did what I did because I was furious with Brant for stepping into my life. Time after time he tried to push his weight around and when I lost Caitlin, I guess I wasn’t thinking. I went off of the deep end and then with being drugged…” he continued to explain to her hoping she would see his logic.

“Being drugged only takes it so far Ken. I saw the look in your eyes that night. I felt it in the way you were with me. This wasn’t just about the drugs. You did it because you had a point to prove--one that I won’t ever forget,” Avery cleared her throat, feeling the repulsion of being near him coil over her body. “I said I could forgive you Ken, but I can’t. I can’t forgive you and I can’t forget. What you did not only violated our friendship, but any respect I could’ve ever held for you. I don’t care what Susan did to you. It was your choice to do what you did and you have to live with it just like I have to each and every day.”

“Avery, this is ridiculous,” Ken threw his hands up in the air, his own frustration getting the best of him. He looked around the kitchen before making a small movement towards her, “So what. We had sex and you liked it, so why the hell are you bitching about it now?”

“What?” she blinked back at him surprised by his dark tone.

“You heard me,” he whispered in response, reaching out to grab her wrist in his hand. “You keep saying that you had no idea what was going on that night, but you did. I could see it in your eyes that you knew full well that it was me and not Brant. Hell, you were practically begging for me to do what we did to you for years with the way you pranced around like you had the goods that every man wanted.”

“What?” Avery blinked back at him, seeing something dark behind his eyes.

“It was only a matter of time before you got around to giving it up to me too. I mean there was Russ and the way you kept teasing Brant, letting him think you were pure as snow, but we both knew better,” Ken licked his lips, his dark eyes sweeping in over her taking in her soft curves, “You were just begging for someone to do you like I did that night and you enjoyed every single second of it. It’s just the next morning you didn’t want to admit that the tease got caught up in her game. You liked making fools of men that were around you time and time again. I saw you do it with Russ and with Brant, but you didn’t do it with me. I was the one who did it to you and that’s what is really eating away at you.”

“You’re sick,” she shoved her hand out into the center of his chest only to feel him press her into the counter with a firm shove.

“No Avery what’s sick is that you stand there pretending that you don’t like what it is that I do to you,” he reached out to bring his fingers through her dark hair, his eyes full of venom and delight, “You pretend that you’re the victim in all of this, but if I didn’t know better I would say that you’re bringing this up all over again simply because you want me to take you again. Is that it?”

“What?” she blinked back at him, her jaw dropping in astonishment as she attempted to push him away from her. “Ken, you’re insane.”

“No insane is pretending that I don’t notice the way that you’re watching me, taunting me to try something--to remember what it was like to have a hot fire like you in my bed,” he let out a wicked laugh before shoving her back into the counter and releasing her. He adjusted the cuffs on his jacket before glaring over at her, “Face it little girl as bad as you wanted it that night and as bad as you want it now, it’s never going to happen again. I know what you are and it doesn’t impress me at all.”

“Impress you?” she repeated in a low snarl, “You sick son of a bitch. The last thing I would ever want is to be near you again, which is why you know full well you never should’ve come here tonight.”

“Russ invited me. He is my brother after all,” he adjusted his other sleeve before flashing her an icy grin, “why wouldn’t I take him up on his offer? Family is very important you know.”

“You don’t know the meaning of the word given that you’re so self-absorbed that you only care about making the rest of the world miserable so that you can build yourself,” Avery spat back at him reaching out behind her on the counter for something she could use to put him in his place.

“No sweetheart that’s your game and after I watched you put one of my brothers in a position where he had to jump through hoops to get your attention, it sickens me to see you doing it to another one,” Ken wiggled his brow at her suggestively, “though I’m sure that would all come to an end if and when I decide to tell Russ about the night you screwed me senseless and loved every single second of it.”

“If Wendy had any idea about what a bastard you really were, she’d leave you in the blink of an eye,” Avery spat back at him, feeling her stomach turn at the idea of what he’d become. “Caitlin would hate what you’ve become because you’re nothing like you were. You’re a shallow, hollow, pathetic excuse for a man and no matter how much you want to pretend you’re better than that, you’re slime Ken.”

“And you loved getting down and dirty with me Avery,” his eyes swept over her once again before he licked his lips, “You’re still itching for another taste and that’s why you lured me in here. You were hoping that we’d get a few minutes away from Wendy and Russ so that you could thank me for rocking your world. Admit it. All of this hostility is just your way of pushing my buttons so that I’ll pick up right where I left off with you.”

“You stay away from me,” Avery warned seeing him moving in closer to her again. She reached for one of the knifes on the countertop and held it out between them.

Ken raised an amused brow before making another movement towards her. He held his hands up in the air and laughed, “What are you going to do Avery? Cut me?”

“Just back off,” she warned sharply, feeling her hands shaking at the idea of how far he’d pushed her. “Ken, I’m warning you. I want you out of here. I don’t care what you have to do or say to make it happen, but I want you gone. I don’t ever want you coming over here again. Do you understand me?”

“All I understand is that you’ve lost your mind. You let Bruce Mathis turn you crazy and you’re having some kind of delusional fantasy where you’re the victim,” he spoke up in a low, taunting tone, “top that off with the fact that my brother dumped you and it made you snap. You became the thing you hated the most when you decided that you really did want to be like Brooke. You wanted to abuse the world around you and push everyone’s buttons, but when it didn’t pay off you snapped.”

“Stay away from me,” Avery warned again with a bit sharper tone. She saw the way that Ken’s eyes dropped to the knife again before he reached out to seize her wrist. He brought her hand up, placing the blade to his neck before taunting her.

“Go ahead Avery. Make me pay for my sins,” he goaded her keeping the blade against his skin, “Slice my throat and let everyone know how I deserved it--how I hurt you by giving you the best damn night of your life.”

“Shut up!” Avery snapped back at him, her fingers shaking as he leaned into the blade.

“Cut me! Do it Avery! Cut me!” he shouted at her stepping into the tip of the knife. “Do it bitch! Go for it! Show everyone just how far you’ve gone since you’ve stepped into my world!”

“No!” Avery replied dropping the knife to the ground and stepping back. She closed her eyes and brought her hands up over her face feeling frustrated tears carry over her when another sound caught her attention. She pushed her hands away from her face realizing that everything she’d just experienced with Ken was nothing more than an illusion--a figment of her imagination and now as she stood shaking in the kitchen, she felt a sick feeling in her stomach.

“Avery, do you have anymore ice in here,” Ken questioned stepping into the kitchen and seeing her in a frazzled state. He noticed that she’d been holding a knife in one hand, while the other seemed to have been cut somehow. Rushing forward with a gasp, he reached out to her pulling her hand up. “You hurt yourself.”

“No I…” she spoke up in a shaky tone feeling as if she was losing her mind. She tipped her head to the side seeing the concern behind Ken’s eyes and she felt frustrated tears taking over her, “Ken, please just go away. Just leave.”

“What?” he questioned seeing that her lower lip was shaking, “Avery I…I was just trying to help.”

“I can’t be around you. Please, you have to understand what happened with us was too much,” she begged of him thinking back to the scenario her mind had conjured up when she’d drifted off into a frightening daydream about her confrontation with Ken.

“Avery, I’m sorry. I never meant to…” Ken started to apologize in an all too familiar tone.

“I don’t want to talk about it Ken. I don’t even want to think about it, but in having you here, it just reminds me of what happened and…” she explained trying to keep her voice even and neutral.

“I realize that and I’m sorry. I never should’ve come over, but Russ asked Wendy and I before I could find a way to say no,” Ken informed her honestly taking a step back, “I never would’ve come over if I thought that it would upset you like this.”

“What did you think it was going to do Ken? How did you think that I would feel?” she questioned sharply, her eyes narrowing over at him.

“It was a mistake,” Ken added with a heavy sigh.

“You’re damn right it was a mistake Ken and I swear to you if it happens again, then I’m going to tell Russ. I’m going to tell him everything about what you did to me and you’ll wish that you never crossed me,” she warned thinking about what she’d just felt in her horrifying fantasy.

“Avery, look I’ve changed. I can’t take back what I did that night, but…” he began nervously seeing the anger flash behind her eyes.

“If you’re smart you’ll stay in line for Wendy. You’ll never return to that place you were in when you hurt so many people--when you hurt me,” Avery added seeing that he was opening his mouth to speak up again. “Listen to me Ken. I may have tried to forgive you, but I cannot forget what happened. I can’t deal with this now and I’ll be honest when I tell you that I cannot take nights like tonight. I don’t want us to be around one another in any way, shape or form. This was too much.”

“I see that now and I’m sorry,” Ken nodded taking a step back and pushing his hands into his pockets, “I realize that I hurt you and…”

“You don’t realize the half of it, but you will if you ever come near Erin or I again because if you even think about trying it, then so help me God I’ll tell Russ and Wendy exactly what it is that you did to me,” she informed him sharply not allowing herself to fall into the role of the victim as she had in her daydream.

“Avery I…” Ken began clearly at a loss after sensing how upset she was.

“I mean it Ken. I’ll tell everyone what you’ve done,” Avery warned sharply leaving no room for any misunderstandings between them.

“Done with what?” Russ questioned as Avery took a step back with a gasp realizing that she and Ken were no longer alone. Russ moved forward into the room looking between them and sensing the tension. “What is it that Ken’s done Avery? What’s going on?”


“Knock knock,” Kyle gently tapped on the door to his bedroom hearing a sound coming from the room as he walked in slowly to see Heather crying in the center of their bed holding onto the pillow tightly. Still holding Charles carefully in his arms, he made his way over to Heather seeing her green eyes glance up at him and Charles. “Heather, baby, what’s wrong?”

“I just can’t believe how mean Kipp was out there,” Heather answered truthfully seeing the way that Kyle’s worried, hazel eyes stared out at her and she shrugged her shoulders in response. “I can’t believe he thinks I’m an unfit parent.”

“He’s just in a bad mood,” Kyle informed her carefully handing her Charles who frowned up at his mother before reaching his arms out to her wanting to get some type of hug. “You know, he just decked me in the living room while Paul was holding Charles.”

“You’re kidding,” she frowned seeing the way that Kyle shook his head slowly and she let out a small groan seeing Kyle rub at the side of his face carefully. She saw the way Charles laughed before cuddling in closer to her and a panic filled throughout her body at the thought of what Kipp could do. “Kyle, I’ve never seen him that mad at me. What if he decides to blame me over something that was my fault? What if he tried to take Charles from me?”

“Heather, he would never do that. Kyle reached out to Charles caressing his back softly before moving forward to press a soft kiss against Heather’s cheek. “Honey, I know that Kipp is just having a bad day. He would never do that, he just blowing off steam and that’s all it is.”

“Kyle, you don’t know that. He told me that he would do it before and I have no idea what he’s capable of anymore,” Heather cried seeing the way that Kyle’s jaw tightened and he wrapped his arm around her tightly, squeezing her in closer to him. “Kyle, if Kipp knew about my past…if he knew about the things I have done, I know for sure he would take Charles away from me.”

“Honey,” Kyle took in a deep breath seeing her starting to burst into tears and he could see the worry behind Charles’ eyes when he looked up at his mother. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Kipp sort or already does know, but what if he knew everything?” Heather questioned with a whimper seeing the way Kyle stared out at her worriedly before reaching out and holding onto her tighter trying to get her to calm down. “If he knew everything Kyle, I know he would take Charles from me for sure. After that he would disappear, I just know it.”

“Heather baby, you don’t know that at all,” he tried to hush her pressing a tender kiss against her forehead before staring down at Charles as he looked up at them. “I know Kipp would never do that to his son and I know he wouldn’t do that to you. He wouldn’t want his son growing up without a mother, I know Kipp--he’s just having a bad day. I swear that’s all baby. I would never let anything bad happen to you Heather, I love you too much to let something bad happen.”

“Kyle, you don’t know,” she cried watching the way that Kyle reached for Charles, pulling him into his arms before standing up from the bed and rocking him back and forth gently. “You have no idea what I’ve done, I’ve done so many bad things.”

“Heather, I don’t care what’s happened,” Kyle cut her off before she could continue any further and he let out a small sigh before shaking his head slowly. “Nothing you could do is ever going to be bad Heather.”

“Yes, I could be Kyle,” Heather pointed out before shaking her head over and over. It was time now that everything was clean out in front of them, she had to tell Kyle the truth. No matter what, she needed to know what Kyle would do once he knew the truth, the real truth. “I need to talk to you Kyle, I need to tell you something very important.”


“So I assume I have a buddy to camp out with in the living room today?” Paul walked out of the kitchen into the living room seeing Kellen rolling out a sleeping bag next to the couch as Paul sipped on his hot tea. “I made a pot of tea in the kitchen if you would like any.”

“Thanks,” Kellen half smiled moving over toward the kitchen once he was done with the sleeping bag before turning on his heel to take a nervous glance at Paul. “This tea, is it something legal or is it really going to screw me up?”

“It’s green tea,” Paul laughed sitting down on the couch and putting his legs across the couch, reaching for the remote and taking a sip. “Somehow I don’t think Kyle would let me have something illegal in here. We’re talking about a deity Kellen.”

“Good point,” Kellen moved into the kitchen letting out a long sigh wishing he would be the spending the night in Kipp’s home and not the floor of Kyle’s place. Never before had Kellen seen Kipp act in such a way and it made him worry about the man he loved, the man that he spent a well planned out relationship with. “I don’t know what’s on your mind Kipp, but I hope you change your mind.”

Sighing to himself, Kellen reaching inside the cupboard taking out a mug and reaching for the pot of tea that Paul had made. Reaching for the sugar he poured some in before moving back into the living room to see Paul propped up against the side of the couch staring out at him.

“Thanks for the tea,” Kellen half smiled seeing Paul nod slowly, his green eyes staring out at him and the way he looked out at him make Kellen freak out a bit. “Is there something else or what?”

“Well,” Paul bit down on his bottom lip thinking about Kyle and before Kyle walked into the room with Heather, he knew that Kyle had asked him to leave Kellen alone, but it was something he couldn't help but do. It would just be a little game, he really wouldn’t do anything super wrong, just mess with Kellen’s head a bit. “I’ve seen you before haven’t I?”

“Uh, I really don’t think so,” Kellen thought about it a long moment, taking a sip of the hot liquid before setting it down on the table and sitting down on the sleeping bag. “Nope, I really don’t think I have met you anywhere in my life.”

“Are you sure?” Paul arched an eyebrow in response seeing Kellen lie back against the pillows before moving in underneath the sleeping bag ready to call it quits for the day. “You look like maybe someone I would see at the club, I swear I’ve seen you before.”

“I really don’t think so,” Kellen closed his eyes before hearing Paul shift and he opened them again seeing Paul’s eyes staring down at him. “You really do think you have met me before, don’t you?”

“Maybe,” Paul bit down on his bottom lip before pushing back his long blonde hair, seeing Kellen’s eyes staring back at him before Paul fell back onto the couch letting out a long sigh. “You just have this face, like I’ve seen you before.”

“I don’t usually get that a lot,” Kellen shook his head slowly before turning on his side away from Paul letting out a long sigh as he thought. “I am a model though, well I have modeled. Nothing huge, it’s just something I’ve done.”

“No, it’s something else,” Paul rested up on his elbow before smirking widely and seeing the back of Kellen’s head before him making him let out a small laugh. “You look like a good clean face, maybe something I’ve seen on television.”

“Television,” Kellen gulped down seeing the look on Paul’s face before he nodded slowly and laid back into the pillows as Kellen’s heart started to race over and over again. Looking out at Paul’s casual ways of going to sleep Kellen let out a hesitant laugh before shaking his head slowly. “Do you mind if I ask you where?”

“I don’t know, like maybe a late night,” Paul shrugged his shoulders before grabbing the blanket and pulling it up over himself letting out a small a laugh. “I don’t know, it’s nothing big. Well, I have no idea, but it could be, just forget about it.”

“Forget about it,” Kellen chuckled lying back on the sleeping bag seeing the way that Paul turned on his side and Kellen let out a hesitant laugh knowing that it had to be impossible for Paul to see the tape of him with Heather. “Yeah, it’s nothing big at all.”


“This is ridiculous,” Kipp slammed the front door to his home finding himself surrounded by darkness. He looked at the coat rack in front of him and kicked it to the floor before throwing his hands in the air and groaning. Tonight he had expected to have a romantic evening with Kellen after they’d spent time with Charles, but instead he had everyone teaming up against him. It was as if everyone had lost their mind now that they all felt that Kipp was in the wrong.

“But I haven’t done a damn thing wrong,” Kipp mouthed to himself making his way over to the bar and pulling out a bottle of vodka. He popped the top off before taking a long, hot swig of the burning liquid.

“It wasn’t like I left my son with a lunatic or that I did something to instigate tonight. That was Heather’s decision and she made a bad choice,” Kipp mouthed to himself remembering how everyone ganged up on him about the situation. Then to add insult to injury Kyle had to add his two cents about everything and Kellen felt the need to jump all over Kipp’s case. Of course the topper of the night was to hear Charles call Kyle dada. That did it. That was the boiling point and Kipp knew he’d had enough.

“I’m not going to be second best in my son’s life or anyone else’s,” he slurred finishing off half of the bottle in the blink of an eye. He staggered across the living room seeking out the light, but then thinking twice of it.

He moved forward nearly tumbling into the wall as he thought to how this had all started because of Kellen’s jealousy. Things hadn’t been the same since Kellen had gotten worked up about Becca. Kellen was acting jealous and mad when there wasn’t a reason in the world for him to be so wired up. Kipp hadn’t done anything, but treat her nice on a professional level, yet everyone was jumping his case pointing out all that he did wrong.

“They’re the ones who are wrong. All of them,” Kipp blurted off finishing out the bottle of vodka before turning around and reaching for something else from the bar. Grabbing the first bottle he could find Kipp cradled it under his arm knowing full well that Kellen would probably spend the night kissing up to Heather and Kyle as always while spinning off his woes about how horrible Kipp was.

“Well if I’m so horrible, then he can stay there. They can all have each other,” Kipp whispered under his breath, frustrations mounting as he worked his way into the bedroom ready to push the disaster of a night behind him. Pushing open the door to his room, he stumbled forward dropping the bottle in his hands. He muttered something into the pillow before passing out completely unaware of the fact that he was far from being alone in his bedroom now that mysterious eyes fixed upon him.

“That’s right Kipp. You don’t need any of them,” the voice whispered emerging from the shadows now that the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself more with each passing second.


“You having fun?” Caleb questioned setting his drink on the nightstand moving back against the headboard on the bed before letting out a long sigh seeing Stacy placing her hand over her head. “I think it’s been pretty decent thus far.”

“I’m actually not feeling so good,” Stacy explained seeing the look behind Caleb’s green eyes and she pushed her long blonde hair behind her shoulder seeing the way that he frowned. “Just forget about it though, it was probably just the drink.”

“Maybe,” Caleb began motioning her in closer to him and she did as he said and he cuddled her in his arms feeling her back pressing in against his chest. Pressing a small kiss against her cheek, he felt her hands move in over his muscular arms and he tipped her chin up to him. “Do you like me sweetheart?”

“I like you very much,” she replied seeing the way his green eyes stared down at her and she reached up to touch the side of his smooth cheek. She leaned up to press a small kiss against his lips, feeling him kissing her back and she pulled away with a small smile. “So much.”

“So much so that you would do anything for me?” Caleb felt Stacy turned in his arms and press her hands against his bare chest as he offered up a wide smile tipping down to kiss her again. “Would you do anything for me?”

“Absolutely anything,” she answered with a small sigh seeing the way he smiled and she moved up to press tender kisses against his lips, his hands pressing in over the sides of her hips as she let out a small sigh. “I swear.”

“That’s a good thing,” he smirked moving her softly so that she was under him on the bed and felt her fingers press over his abdomen before softly pushing at his chest. “Hey, hey. You just said you would do anything for me Stace, relax.”

“Caleb, I’m really not feeling good,” she squirmed feeling his lips press in over the side of her neck and she felt his fingers press in under her skirt, his fingertips pressing in against her thigh softly. “I think I want to go home.”

“No you don’t,” he hushed her bringing his finger up in over her lips seeing the way her blue eyes stared out at him and he hushed her watching her nod slowly. “You don’t want to miss the best part of this evening honey. You don’t want to miss it at all.”


“What the hell kind of place is this?” Kevin frowned seeing Don pull up to the broken down looking apartment building in front of them. He wrinkled his nose before taking a long look around the area and seeing nothing but ruins around them, “This place looks like it should be condemned.”

“That’s because it should be, but this town is too cheap to knock it down, so it gives jerks like the one Stacy is with a place to run their business,” Don mouthed with a snarl pushing open the car door.

“You would think that these guys would pick a more upscale establishment when trying to impress someone that young,” Ria noted taking a look around before eyeing the building in front of them again.

“They pick these places before it’s easy for them to get away with all the junk that they pull without being detected. By the time anyone official makes their way to this part of town, the party has picked up and left and they get away without consequence,” Don added feeling his jaw flex with anger.

“Not this time they don’t,” Kevin promised looking up at the building in front of them, “because if there is a fifteen year old girl in there, then so help me, I’m not leaving until she leaves with us.”

“Neither am I,” Don pushed forward ready to knock the front door down. He was almost to the door when Ria caught up to him.

“Wait, if this is the kind of party we think it is, then let me handle this one,” Ria suggested pushing both men out of the way. She held her finger up in the air to silence any of their protests before she reached for the bottom of her shirt, bringing it up to tie just underneath her chest. She pulled her hair out from the clip she’d had it in before tossing it over her shoulders. Looking down at her t-shirt, she ripped the top part open a bit to add more emphasis to her cleavage.

“Ria what are you…” Kevin blinked back at her seeing her transform herself into quite a different picture than what she’d been a few moments earlier.

“You both need to step into character,” she motioned over to Don, “Take off the jacket and put it back in to the car. Kevin, undo a couple of buttons and let me see your hair.”

“What’s wrong with my hair,” he frowned as Don did as instructed. Ria ran her fingers through Kevin’s hair giving it a quick once over before she stepped back.

“Much better,” she smiled at them. She looked over at Don and undid a couple of buttons on his shirt as well. “Just let me do all the talking.”

“Ria what are you…” Kevin began watching her ring the bell. A few minutes later a man answered looking like he was clearly security for this less than finer establishment.

“What do you want?” the man spoke gruffly eyeing Ria with a sudden curiosity.

“We’re here for the party,” Ria confessed batting her eyelashes at him before puffing her chest out. She nodded over towards Don, “My manager over there said that there was someone in here who might be interested in seeing me.”

“Is that right?” the man replied giving her a very long once over before finding himself seemingly impressed. He started to smile, but then looked over at Kevin and frowned, “Who is this?”

“I’m her bodyguard. You have a problem with that?” Kevin stepped forward glaring down at the guy.

“Yeah I do. She can get in, but you two are out of here,” the man waved his hand at Don and Kevin.

“Wrong answer,” Kevin found his patience coming to an end. With a frustrated groan, he pulled his fist back, decked the man in front of him and turned to see a surprised Ria looking up at him.

“Why did you do that? I was working on getting us inside,” she huffed back at Kevin.

“Forget talking. I’m more a man of action if I do say so myself,” Kevin explained with a proud smirk, “Now about Stacy, what do you say we make a few more statements on the way up about our views on getting some action Don?”

“I think it sounds like a great idea,” Don replied ready to face a fight if it meant saving his friend’s daughter from the danger that was right in front of her.

“Fine, but when you two have something broken later, I’m going to remind you that I told you violence was not the answer,” Ria huffed stepping over the bouncer that was now on the floor as the trio worked their way into the party determined to find Stacy before any more trouble came her way!


...to be continued...